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Maj. John McAlister

Stafford Deputy Tells Germanna Graduates the Importance of Life-Long Learning

by | Dec 21, 2016 | Schools & Education

By Mike Zitz, Germanna Community College public information officer. Photo provided by Germanna Community College.

Nearly 700 students were awarded degrees and certificates at Germanna Community College’s (GCC) Fall 2016 Commencement December 19, 2016, at the University of Mary Washington’s Anderson Center.

Graduation speaker Maj. John McAlister of the Stafford Sheriff’s Office joined the Navy 10 days after he graduated from Stafford High School in 1988.

Athletics were more important to him than classes, he said, adding that he knew he wasn’t prepared for college. So he enlisted.

Four years later, when he finished his tour of duty, he knew what he wanted to do. He committed himself not just to college, but to lifelong learning.

He enrolled at Germanna, graduating in 1994. He said he knew GCC had a good police science program. While he was there, he started at the Stafford Sheriff’s Office as an auxiliary deputy, essentially a law enforcement apprentice.

“Germanna was just the right fit for me,” he said. “I knew about the guaranteed transfer agreement, and it prepared me for a four-year school.”

He transferred to Virginia Commonwealth University, earning a bachelor’s degree in police science in 1996, then joining the Stafford Sheriff’s Office full time. He’s now been there for 20 years, working his way up to the rank of major at age 47.

He wasn’t finished learning. He graduated from the FBI National Academy Associates through the University of Virginia, learning about terrorism, terrorist mindsets, and behavioral psychology.

The majority of Maj. McAlister’s career has been spent in the Field Operations Division, where he has served as a Patrol Deputy, Sergeant, First Sergeant, Second Lieutenant, First Lieutenant and Captain. Maj. McAlister was promoted as the Commander of the Operations Bureau in July of 2016.

Maj. McAlister has also been a Field Training Officer, General Instructor, Defensive Tactics Instructor, a Bike Patrol Deputy, and Commander of the SWAT Team. He participated in the International Association of Chief’s of Police SWAT Supervision & Management Training, the National Search and Rescue School, the FBI Advanced Tactical Operators Course, and the FBINNA/Virginia State Police First Line Supervisor School.

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700 Receive Degrees, Certificates at Germanna Fall Commencement
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